quote:Yes, this explanation might seem a bit "strained," but directly contrary to the text? No.
Have you ever considered changing your argument to say that Matthew gives the lineage of Joseph while Luke gives the lineage not of Mary but of Jesus Himself? Thus it would read that Jesus was only supposedly the son of Joseph, but He was the son of Heli; He was the son of Mathat; He was the son of Levi, and so on. Thus also we read that Jesus is the son of David and the Son of God. This interpretation is consistent with the usage of the word "son" both within Scripture and in classical litterature.
quote:Notably, not even the earliest Christians makes any mention of a historical Jesus of Nazareth : * Paul refers in spiritual terms to a divine figure Iesous Christos - nothing historical
I wasn't going to reply to this statement, but I just read Romans 1:3 and thought that it would be an appropriate verse to quote in response to Iasion's claims.
quote:Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
I came accross this verse without even seeking to refute Iasion. There are several other similar verses which I could post if I were to simply take a few moments to remember their references, but I think that this one should suffice for now as evidence of error within Iason's claims.
It's frequently asked beacuse IF Luke expected his genealogy to be interpreted in the way Phil says then it should be the case that there are precedents. IF there are no precedents then we SHOULD accept the natural reading as the intended reading.
I did laugh at the little joke you make at the expense of inerrantists. But it's a bit harsh - what if Phil took you seriously and made a fool of himself by actually ASKING your question ?
The famous passage at the start of Romans is probably the most common item adduced in support of historical Jesus.
It starts :
quote:1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God, 1:2 which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 1:3 concerning his Son...
Here Paul claims his "Gospel of God" comes from the scriptures, not from any recent Jesus of Nazareth (who he never names).
Paul elsewhere makes this very clear :
quote:Rom. 16:25-6 specifies the source of Paul’s gospel : “. . . according to the revelation of the mystery kept in silence for long ages but now revealed, and made known through prophetic writings at the command of God . . .”
Note well that Paul's gospel about the son comes through his revelations and his new understanding of scripture. Paul also emphasises he got his Gospel from "no man", and he specifically dismisses Peter and the Jerusalem pillars - "am I not an apostle like (as good as) them?"
In other words he clearly says his Gospel about Iesous Christos comes from no historical person or what he has heard about him - but rather through revelation and a new understanding of scipture.
So, there is no evidence here for a historical Jesus at all - Paul is merely saying : "The son has been revealed to me, here is what the scriptures really say about Iesous Christos ..."
Moving on, here is what Paul has learned, through revelation and scripture, about Iesous Christos :
quote:...who was born of the seed of David physically, 1:4 who was declared to be the Son of God with power spiritually
Here I have rendered "kata sarka" and "kata pneuma" as "physically" and "spiritually" to emphasise the dichotomy Paul makes.
There is no evidence of a historical person here - merely two characteristics of the son of God that Paul has derived from scripture.
In paraphrase, Paul is saying : "I have learned through revelation and the scriptures that the son is : physically of the seed of David spiritually declared the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord"
The contrast of physical and spiritual is the key to the passage - Paul is describing 2 aspects of the son - upper and lower, wordly and divine.
There is no evidence of a historical person there - its merely Paul's exegesis of scripture. Paul never gives a date, or place, or time, or context for the crucifixion or the resurrection. Paul never mentions the empty tomb - even when arguing for the reality of resurrection! Paul never gives any teaching from Jesus - he even says "we don't know how to pray" showing no knowledge of the Lord's Prayer. Paul never mentions Mary, Joseph, Herod, Pilate, Lazarus, Judas etc. Paul never mentions the birth stories, the triumphal entry, the cleansing of the temple, the sermon, the feeding, the passion, the trial ! Indeed - no Christian EVER mentions these things until early-mid 2nd century.
Note that Paul describes the resurrection as a spiritual event: "spiritually declared the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord"
Paul says he derives this from scripture, and we can see some of the sources in the Messiah of Psalms and the Righteous One from the Similitudes of Enoch.
Paul also says that Iesous Christos was crucified by the Archons of this Sphere - this phrase means those beings one sphere or plane or dimension "up" from ours, the Lunar Sphere, the Etheric or Astral Plane perhaps. This Lunar or Astral plane immediately superior to this one was also considered part of the "physical realm".
So, Paul's use of the phrase "seed of David physically" means nothing about a historical person - it is merely an attribute of the son of god figure who was crucified in the same place that Attis was cut, that Osiris was dismembered, that Mithras slew the bull - in the world above ours, the world of spirit and myth.
Have you considered the book of Hebrews? Chapter 6 verse 6 comes to mind as well as chapter 7 verse 14 and chapter 10 verses 12 through 14. Perhaps you could also consider Phillipians chapter 2 and the first verse of Galations. Do you have an explanation of the price mentioned in I Corinthians 6:20 or of the baptism of Romans chapter 6? Can you explain how the husband is commanded to love his wife in Ephesians 5:25? And perhaps most importantly, can you explain what blood Paul makes reference to in Romans 3:25, 5:9, I Corinthians 10:16, 11:25, 11:27, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, Colossians 1:14, 1:20, Hebrews 2:14, 9:7-25, 10:4, 10:19, 10:29, 12:24, 13:12, and 13:20?
Also, if Paul was only referring to the Messiah who is mentioned in the Old Testament and not to Jesus of Nazareth, why did he refer to this Messiah by the name Jesus?
Could you please provide references for your quotes? I would specifically like to see the reference for your "archons of this sphere" statement as well as an explanation of how "this sphere" can refer to "another sphere."
Please also explain how "sarka" could refer to anything other than physical flesh.
Can you provide proof that the bible is not a work of half fiction half fact? Can you prove that nothing was added to the bible after it was origianly written? Can you prove that Jesus and the bible are not stolen ideas from the many prior and much older religions? Can you prove that the verses you have quoted are really talking about what you think they do? Can you prove that the man Jesus exisisted, with out using any questionable material, like the bible, Josephus and others, that have been shown to have been doctored? It is hard for one to accept the bible and other material as proof, when it has been shown that much of it has been tampered with. The burden of proof does not fall on the one who questions it, it falls to who ever made the claim. Its very hard to disprove something that doesnt exist in the first place.....
------------------ --ignorance is humankind's worst enemy--
Hebrews starts by declaring belief in the son and describes this son :
quote:When in former times God spoke to our forefathers, he spoke in fragmentary and varied fashion through the prophets. But in these last days he has spoken to us in the Son, whom he has made heir to the whole universe, and through whom he created all orders of existence: the Son who is the effulgence of God’s splendor and the stamp of God’s very being, and sustains the universe by his word of power. When he had brought about the purgation of sins, he took his seat at the right hand of Majesty on high, raised as far above the angels as the title he has inherited is superior to theirs.
This theme closely matches the Hellenistic "Logos" - echoes can be seen in Philo and the personified Wisdom figure in "The Wisdom of Solomon". both from the early 1st century.
This "son" is an emanation or image of God, a secondary divinity that serves as an intermediary channel between God and humanity.
Hebrews casts this son of god as the spiritual High Priest whose sacrifice in heaven has established a new covenant, replacing the old.
No Earthly Jesus
But, no-where in this lengthy epistle is any connection made between this son and Jesus of Nazareth. The son in Hebrews inhabits the heavens, no earthly setting is ever given, no dates, places, names, historical events.
Hebrews even goes so far as note that the son had never been on earth at 8:4 : "Now, if he had been on earth, he would not even have been a priest" sometimes translated : “Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest”
There is no contrast with any earlier time when he was on earth - the point in this passage is that Jesus would have nothing to do on earth (as he is the Higher Priest and earthly priests are already here doing the earthly work)
The writer clearly sees Jesus as occupying the heavens, without visiting the earth in the past.
This is clarified by other comments : 10:37 : ' For soon, very soon (in the words of Scripture), “he who is to come will come and will not delay." '
There is no room here or any earlier coming - the writer sees the future coming of the son to be his first visit.
Hebrews' son is a heavenly figure
Hebrews describes the son is purely spiritual terms, backed-up with citations of the OT - he is "higher than the angels", and the Psalms are quoted in support. It notes that God has "spoken to us through the son", but cites only OT passages as the "voice" of the son - but never gives a word of Jesus' alleged teachings - in fact no mention is made at all about the events of the Gospels, not even the resurrection is mentioned!
The son in Hebrews is a heavenly figure who is ever-present and speaks through the scriptures, not a recent historial person, consider at 10:5-7 the son speaks in what might be styled a “mythical present” through a passage from Psalm 40 (actually, from the Septuagint version, No. 39, showing that the community lives in a Hellenistic milieu, not a Hebrew one):
quote:That is why, at his coming into the world, he says: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, But thou hast prepared a body for me. Whole-offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not delight in. Then I said: ‘Here am I: as it is written of me in the scroll, I have come, O God, to do thy will.’
Note the present tense of the Greek, showing that his coming is an ever present spiritual happening - not the slightest hint is made about an earthly coming of Jesus.
The sacrifice made by the son is in heaven : “better sacrifices are required to cleanse heavenly things” (9:23). "For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands ... but into heaven itself" (9:24)
The epistle is silent on the details of Jesus alleged ministry, even when discussing the new covenant no clear mention is made of the last supper events.
In sum, the epistle of Hebrews shows clearly and repeatedly that the writer believed in the son as a spiritual entity who had never been on earth. Later Christians have re-interpreted some vague comments as if they refer to Gospel events - such arguments are weak.
Hebrews and Paul (and Philo, c.f. Enoch) all show similarities of thought, middle-platonic and even gnostic - but do not provide any hard evidence for a historical Jesus.
Why? It says that those who have "fallen away" are "crucifying again the son of God and holding him up to contempt"
How can this be a reference to a literal crucifixion? Falling away does not literally crucify someone, and being likened to "holding up to ridicule" shows this is a allegoric crucifixion, not a literal one.
And, as this second "crucifixion" is not a literal one, why should we think the original was literal?
So, this passage does NOT support a historical Jesus of Nazareth - rather it supports the mythic Jesus.
The son is said to be "sprung from Judah" because thats what scripture says about the Messiah - the writer is merely mining scripture for details about this heavenly figure. The lower world reflect the upper world, so heavenly figures share human attributes as "originals" or "templates".
Consider 2:14: “Since (Christ’s children) have blood and flesh, he too shared the same things in a similar manner " Here Christ has flesh and blood in a similar way, a heavenly way - not an identical way.
There is no evidence here for a historical Jesus - merely descriptions about the son of God mined from the scriptures where he largely originated.
quote:Perhaps you could also consider Phillipians chapter 2 and the first verse of Galations. Do you have an explanation of the price mentioned in I Corinthians 6:20 or of the baptism of Romans chapter 6? Can you explain how the husband is commanded to love his wife in Ephesians 5:25?
Well, the Hebrews references didn't amount to much :-) How about YOU explain why you think these prove a historical Jesus rather than a heavenly one?
quote:And perhaps most importantly, can you explain what blood Paul makes reference to in Romans 3:25, 5:9, I Corinthians 10:16, 11:25, 11:27, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, Colossians 1:14, 1:20, Hebrews 2:14, 9:7-25, 10:4, 10:19, 10:29, 12:24, 13:12, and 13:20?
The blood of Jesus, spilled on the heavenly plane which "rules" ours and which in some way affected the lower world (according to Paul). What makes YOU think he is referring to physical blood of a historical person? Just because blood is physical, does that mean ALL references to blood are historical?
What about Attis - according to myth he castrated himself and spilled blood under a pine tree - do you believe Attis is therefore historical? What about Osiris - according to legend he was physically dismembered - do you believe it was a historical event? What about Adam - he was supposedly made from blood and clay - do you believe that was a historical event? Heck - we saw Aragorn bleed in Lord of the Rings - do you therefore believe Aragorn is a real person?
Why exactly do you think blood can only be physical and not mythical or spiritual?
All these references in Paul etc. - CAN be interpreted s references to a historical person, IF you already believe.
But, all these references apply just as well, often BETTER, to a spiritual being, and they fit right in with neoplatonic concepts of a spiritual being from a upper plane and, coupled with the total silence about a historical Jesus, both by contemporary writers, and oddly enough even the earliest Christians, argue strongly that Jesus of Nazareth never existed in history.
I thought it was well understood that the "archons" were spiritual beings.
The author of Ephesians (probably not Paul) talks about them in a couple of places quite clearly, with the same language as Paul uses in 1 Corinthians.
Origen assumed that Paul was talking about evil spiritual beings (and alludes to astrology of the Magi).
So did the Gnostic Marcion.
Ignatius used ‘archon’ in an angelic sense.
Frank Zindler has an interesting comment about Hipparchus' discovery of the precession of the equinoxes :
"It is difficult not to see this as a reference to the end of the 2150-year-long astrological Age of Aries, over which Mithra had reigned as 'Time-Lord' or chronocrat. Paul was writing almost exactly at the time the Age of Pisces was beginning, with Jesus as the new Time-Lord. The Greek for 'the rulers of this age' is "archanton tou aionos toutou". This fairly reverberates with both astrological and Gnostic mysteries. In gnosticism, the archons clearly are rulers of astrological derivation, and the æons are both rulers and periods of time. It is suggestive also, that the church father Origen, in commenting on this passage in Corinthians alludes to "the astrology of the Chaldeans and Indians" and "Magi" - Mithraic or Zoroastrian astrologers"
Please forgive me for not presenting you with a fully developed argument. I was not planning on discussing this issue with you at all. However, I am now preparing a full argument in support of the position that the Jesus Paul referred to in his epistles is Jesus of Nazareth which is called the Christ. This argument will be developed from Acts 22:8. "And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." From this verse and with the support of many others I will show that the writings commonly attributed to Paul the apostle refer to a literal, physical Christ.
To adequately address the evidence which you have presented, I must be able to review that evidence within its actual context. If you could please give the references for the verses you have used, I would greatly appreciate it. I would also like to have references for your statements about the contents of certain pieces of classical literature, and I would be much aided by knowing which Bible translation or manuscripts you have been using. Thank you for your willingness to provide such information.
quote:Acts 22:8. "And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." From this verse and with the support of many others I will show that the writings commonly attributed to Paul the apostle refer to a literal, physical Christ.
Acts dates about 1/2 century or so after Paul, its not certain who wrote it (probably not a follower of Paul as they differ on key issues) - it is no proof for what Paul was referring to.
Secondly, Acts DIFFERS in its retelling of Paul's visionary experience - the legend has grown in the telling.
Thirdly, Acts includes elements from pagan myth, including the line from Euripides about "kicking against the goads (pricks)", and a phrase lifted from the Egyptian Mysteries (theos ho ton legon hegemon). Its as much myth as history.
Finally, the GREEK New Testament (an interlinear of the Nestle Aland 26) does NOT have "Jesus of Nazareth" at 22:8, but rather "Jesus the Nazarene" (Gk NAZARAOIS). So too does Acts 26:9 have "Jesus the Nazarene".
In sum, Acts is not evidence for Paul's writing, Acts is a late and suspect source, Acts refers to "Jesus the Nazarene" not "Jesus of Nazareth".
It can be seen that Jesus' hometown of Nazareth was accidentally derived from his being termed a "Nazarene" - but not from any historical information.
This supports my argument that the original Iesous Christos was a spiritual being, and only LATER did the Gospel stories of a historical person develop.